COVID-19: What You Should Know

American Pilgrims is echoing official advice from numerous sources to postpone all international travel. We will continue to pass along news from the official and authoritative sources listed below. As of August 9th, Spain, Portugal and France are all under US State Department level 4 travel advisories (“Do not travel” due to COVID concerns). Click HERE for more information.

Regarding entry requirements to Spain and the latest EU guidance effective September 6, 2021, we want to share the following website in English produced by the Ministry of Tourism that lays out who can enter Spain and the requirements for entry: https://travelsafe.spain.info/en/ and this link to the Latest News on countries and risk areas.

If you are traveling from the United States of America, to enter Spain as a tourist you MUST now show a vaccination certificate.

  • Vaccination certificate must have been issued at least 14 days before date of travel.
  • Vaccines accepted in Spain include Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, Jansen / Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac and Sinopharm
  • For anyone wondering… As much as the Camino community often differentiates between pilgrimage and tourism, in the eyes of the Spanish government, walking or biking the Camino is considered tourism and does not fall under exceptional situations.

Children under the age of 12 do not have to present any kind of certificate. Between the ages of 12 and 18, they must have a vaccination certificate, i.e. they cannot enter with a certificate of a diagnostic test or a certificate of recovery, apart from the exceptions.

A few caveats about this:

1) The Ministry of Tourism is not the agency that determines the entry requirements. That responsibility falls to the Ministry of Health. As the Ministry of Health provides more clarity, the information by the Ministry of Tourism may change accordingly.

2) This information was posted on the TravelSafe.Spain.Info website where there is a disclaimer saying “This information is non-binding and has no regulatory effect.”

In addition to the above, we also want to point to FAQ section of the Spain Travel Health website from the Ministry of Health which provides some good information: https://www.spth.gob.es/faq?tab=2 

All travelers to Spain will need to complete the Spanish Health Travel form which can be found at https://www.spth.gob.es/. Upon completion of this form, the traveler will be provided with a QR code that they will need to present to the airline prior to boarding their flight. This will even need to be filled out by passengers transiting through an airport in Spain.

To see vaccination rates and other COVID statistics in various countries, see the website Our World in Data.

Please also note that while we are doing our best to provide official sources of information directly from the Spanish government, it is ultimately your responsibility to understand the rules of your destination and comply with them. We recommend that closer to your departure date, you check official sources in case anything has changed. This applies not just to Spain in general but to the regions within Spain you will be traveling through.

Some final thoughts…

Travelers entering Spain in the coming weeks will need to be flexible and understanding that things can change very quickly. There will probably be confusion as things get back on track. Give yourself extra time at each point of departure and entry. And be kind and patient with those you encounter (airline workers, border officials, etc) as we all learn to navigate the measures, rules, and protocols. Think about the flexibility and the adaptability that we usually embrace on the Camino and know that you will need it more than ever if you are planning to travel in the coming weeks as Spain and Europe reopen to the world.

On January 15, 2021, the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs announced that all airline passengers entering the United States (including US citizens) ages two years and older must provide either a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three days of travel or provide a positive test result and documentation from a licensed health care provider or public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. This means that within the three days prior to returning to the US, you will have to locate a COVID testing facility.US embassy websites and the website of the CDC have information about the requirement.

The website of the Association of Municipalities of the Camino de Santiago has up-to-date information on restrictions, including cross-border travel closures. (Spanish with some English)

Concerning France, please check the following post on the Facebook page of the French Embassy in the US:  https://www.facebook.com/franceintheus/photos/a.10150246978736315/10157693405241315

Concerning Portugal, we unfortunately continue to have no information about their requirements.

The US Embassy in Spain: https://es.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
The US Embassy in Portugal: https://pt.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
The US Embassy in France: https://fr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

American Pilgrims local chapters are following applicable state and local public health recommendations and requirements concerning chapter events. We encourage everyone to abide by these restrictions.

This is a site (Spanish) that seems to be timely and comprehensive:
https://www.spain.info/en/discover-spain/practical-information-tourists-covid-19-travel-spain/#
The section “What is the current situation in each area of Spain?” about 2/3’s of the way down the page offers province by province information.

The U.S. State Department’s COVID-19 Travel Alert page: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/novel-coronavirus-hubei-province–china.html

Some official and reliable sources:
• https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
•  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
• The World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
• The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china

Spain-specific information sources:
• The Spanish Health System is posting timely announcements in their Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/SaludPublicaEs
• The Spanish Ministry of Health (Spanish):
https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov-China/home.htm
https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov-China/situacionActual.htm
• Status of COVID-19 in Spain, including regional details (Spanish):
https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/50d6c4c5599a43f4bebf517daa3a97b6
• El Camino con Correos has posted helpful information on their blog: https://www.elcaminoconcorreos.com/en/blog/camino-de-santiago-and-covid-19
• “El País in English for current news.

This is obviously a story that changes frequently – even daily. Stay informed and make informed decisions. Refrain from forwarding unreliably sourced information.

4 Comments

  1. […] 53.905. The previous one (2019) they were 347.585. That means a decrease of aprox. 84,50% due to COVID-19 […]



    • Gene McCullough on January 13, 2021 at 10:00 pm

      Yes, we are obviously well aware of the massive decline in compostelas issues. There were a total of 12 issued across April, May and June. We are assembling updates for all of the data to be found on our statistics page: americanpilgrims.org/statistics/



  2. […] With the uncertainties that COVID-19 continues to bring into our lives, our pilgrimage plans may be placed on hold, but the invitation to contemplate love persists. And for many of us, our dearest loves include the fellowship, magic and mystery we’ve encountered as pilgrims! […]



    • Gene McCullough on February 11, 2021 at 5:34 am

      Hello and thank you for the suggestion. However we will, I think, keep this page as focused on the COVID situation, primarily in Spain, and practical issues that might affect would-be pilgrims.